“Peripatetic Sense of Place” by artist Tatiana Potts will be on display in our Clayton Center for the Art’s Blackberry Farm Gallery through September 28. The collection of primarily three-dimensional, folded paper structures along with several pen drawings, explore Potts’ ideas regarding the world and her surroundings.
Originally from Slovakia, Potts has resided in the US for the past fifteen years, but this change of scenery, among other changes, has provided her with a multitude of new perspectives and ideas regarding art. Specifically, she often finds interest in architectural forms from one country to another. Her varying experiences in the places she has traveled to inform her creative worlds.
When Potts initially came to the United States, she noticed just how quickly environments can change and reform through building demolishment and new construction.
Interested in art that also acts like “world making,” architecture plays a key role in Potts’ pieces, which express a sort of “built environment” that encapsulates two different worlds as one.
Potts concepts of these worlds initially came to have a physical representation while she was acquiring her MFA at the University of Tennessee. As of her thesis project, Potts created a paper folded world named “Tajtania,” a play on spelling that comes from the most common mispronunciation of her own name. An extension of that project, the current works within “Peripatetic Sense of Place” continue to represent Potts’ ideas of her two worlds.
One of the larger pieces in the collection, “Visitors at the Gate #15,” appears as a gate big enough to feel as though one could enter it, which looks to a city skyline with its own mildly distorted, depth enhancing shadow. An additional element, a projection, made by Meg Erlewine, of a figure walking across the span of work stands at a realistic, human level of height.
“It’s just meant to be anonymous to the visitors coming to see it. The projection is a combination of ‘I welcome you’ and a representation of how I feel in the world,” explains Potts.
She then adds to the concept with the idea that the figure possibly helps to make visitors feel more at ease as they enter the space.
“Faces of Tajtania,” a circular, three-dimensional, paper piece fills its own space with more references to architectural details including façade imagery. Potts expressed the notion that gargoyles are often seen as monstrous, but they typically turn out to represent not so horrifying topics or even serve a practical purpose. Placed in a few corners of the gallery, you can also find Potts’ “Dwellers,” columns made of more folded, paper cubes stacked at varying heights.
“More like citizens. I didn’t necessarily want to call them citizens, because I don’t want to say that I created a space that is some
kind of utopia or dystopia. So, they are a part of the world, but they can be whatever you want,” she provides, when asked if they represent buildings or people. Potts continues to add that she was also playing with the scale of them in comparison to the other works. Because they are not as flat as the wall pieces yet rather short and small, they provide a contrasting experience to some of the additional pieces.
Different from her paper folded prints, Potts chooses to leave handwritten notes on many of her pen drawings such as the set included in “Flute Diaries,” a sort of documented progression showing her daughter at flute lessons. One reason for doing so, Potts found interest in the ways her daughter’s instructor would use food metaphors to describe the music.
As a whole, Pott’s pieces reflect on her own experiences being settled in a place while also feeling like she does not fully belong to it. At the same time, this body of work manages to create a sense of space for its viewer that encapsulates how they often move through the entire world, but also in their personal ones.
There will be an artist’s reception held on September 28 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Blackberry Farm Gallery, but you can always stop by during the week to view these works at your leisure. For even more information or to see more of pot’s work, you can visit her website at tatianapotts.com.